Rating: PG-13 for language and adult situations
Run Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
The most marvelous performance of the year unites with one of the best films of 2006. Hallelujah.
Helen Mirren is perfection as Queen Elizabeth, not the be-wigged and Tudored version but the contemporary royal for whom a stiff upper lip is the order of the day.
That credo is
put to the test when Princess Diana is killed in a dramatic car crash inside a
dark tunnel in
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown indeed. Blair and Her Royal Highness do emotional battle with all the diplomatic and procedural forces they can bring to bear while a staid Prince Philip (James Cromwell) staves off the inevitable by stalking a fourteen-point elk that’s furtively roaming his summer estate.
is a captivating fictional account of real events that transpired in August of
1997. What went on behind closed doors at
Mirren deserves every year-end award available for her spot-on portrayal of a reigning royal caught between the crosshairs, forced by a country in mourning to put protocol and personal judgment aside and break with long-standing tradition. Director Stephen Frears coaxes thespian gold from his gifted leading lady -- the mannerisms, the walk and the unyielding conviction of a born and bred monarch.
Sheen’s Cheshire-cat grin is the perfect foil for his burgeoning conflict and beleaguered desire to placate a nation. Alex Jennings plays Prince Charles with all the vulnerability of a man inexorably tied to mom’s apron strings.
Real news footage of Diana’s dramatic departure – the breaking bulletins, the funeral, etc. -- pepper the theatrics and lend fresh perspective to a fabric of society that took the People’s Princess to their hearts.
Peter Morgan’s incisive screenplay was drawn from dedicated research and extensive interviews with discreet palace sources, lending “The Queen” both historical and voyeuristic panache. Darkly observed and deeply affecting.